2022 Women's Africa Cup of Nations hosts Morocco target World Cup
Last updated on .From the section Sport Africa
Morocco are determined to use their hosting of the 2022 Women's Africa Cup of Nations to qualify for their first World Cup.
The four semi-finalists at the 2022 Women's Nations Cup will all earn automatic places at the 2023 World Cup in in Australia and New Zealand.
The Confederation of African Footbll (Caf), who had to cancel the 2020 tournament due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, named Morocco as hosts of the 2022 event at its most recent Executive Committee meeting.
Morocco have only ever qualified twice for the Women's Nations Cup, in 1998 and 2000, and have just one win, one draw and four losses at the finals, having scored 5 goals but conceding 22.
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"It is exciting times as coach Reynald Pedros will be focusing on the senior and under-20 sides to build an elite line-up to achieve our massive goal of going to our first World Cup," Kelly Lindsey, the director of women's football at the Moroccan federation, told BBC Sport Africa.
"This Africa Cup will be the culmination of teamwork and unity to drive the women's game forward.
"Hosting the tournament will be a massive boost to women's football here in Morocco. A country so passionate about football will have the best women's football at their doorstep.
"We are very grateful to (football federation) President Fouzi Lekjaa to ensure the girls, families and fans can be personally connected to the beautiful women's game.
"The country is starting to unite around women's football with the start of our under-15 and under-17 championships.
"By 2022 we will have thousands of girls eager to see what the future brings if they dream big, work hard and stay focused on their futures."
Pedros took over as Morocco coach in November and is the latest step for the Moroccan federation in its bid to develop the women's game in the country.
The 49-year-old is not only a former France international but also twice won both the European Women's Champions League and French league titles while in charge of Lyon.